Dyerville Mill

 

In use by the State of RI/Department of Labor and Cowan Plastics (in the back). It is probably the best preserved and oldest mill in the city.

 

Built in 1835, this stucco and stone structure has windows with granite lintels on the top and bottom, and walls reinforced with steel rods, topped with decorative diamond-shaped plates. The three story building has a gabled roof and a square central tower with small belfry. In front of the main building is a one-story office (c 1850) with a hip roof.

The interior of the mill was heavily altered in the late 19th or early 20th century. A stone picker house, a one story extension originally used as a weave shed, and a wooden wheel house and boiler house are still intact. Also remaining is a dam on the Woonasquatucket from which ran a raceway to provide water power to the mill.

Founded by Elisha Dyer, the mill employed 30 men and 35 women in 1849, who turned out 800,000 yards or calico cloth a year. Elisha Dyer, Jr. was governor of RI from 1857 to 1859, and took over the company when his father died in 1854. The company was sold to the Beckwith family in 1867, owners of the largest cotton-brokerage firm in Providence. By 1870 the mill employed 40 men, 48 women, and 24 children. (Ed– Ahh, lack of labor laws)

The mill changed hands a few more times due to diversification and competition in the textile industry. Today it is a designated Historic Mill Complex and is used partially as offices for the state Department of Labor.

Chris Suchmann Mar 19 2012 The Cove Center and The Groden Network Offices (see /arch/?id=stillinuse&pr=32branch32 Branch Ave.) have been occupying Dyerville Mill since 2003. During the 2009 flood a river ran through it, but it is back together and better than before. The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council in conjunction with the NRC removed the remains of the old dam so the alewifes and friends can now swim upstream. Cowan Plastics filed for bankruptcy when they lost a patent dispute over the Mosquito Magnet. The owner is currently in negotiations with new tenants.

Picture # 6 is before 2003. Also, someone recently purchased 610 Manton Ave. which used to be connected by a bridge to the mill building.

P Duhaime I grew up in the neighborhood in the 1950s and 60s. I can remember playing along the railroad tracks and near the falls of the dam we called the “Bulk”.

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